Thursday, October 23, 2008

International Fact-Finding Mission Team joint manifestation - STOP OIL EXPLORATION NOW!


We are brothers and sisters from the ASEAN Region bonded by a shared aspiration and sentiment - that of a world where our rights to life, livelihood, health, safety, and a healthy environment are respected, not just by government but by fellow humans, and entities, denounce the oil and gas exploration activities by foreign transnational corporations as pushed by the national government and its agencies and call for the stoppage of these activities.

We appeal to the government to seriously integrate sustainability in its programs and projects and do away with the policy of double speak. Mouthing calls for the people to reduce energy consumption and the use of fossil fuels while heavily promoting offshore drilling and mining is a clear example.

So much is at stake. The poorest of the poor - the small fisherfolks, farmers and their families- are suffering the most as a result of the displacement caused by offshore drilling and the failure or refusal of government agencies to enforce the laws. Their children no longer go to school as a result of the reduced fish catch and the loss of soil fertility of due to agricultural policies that promote the use of harmful chemical fertilizers and pesticide. There is so much anxiety for what the future holds for them. They too deserve a life of dignity and honor.

In our stay here, we verify the studies conducted by different scientific groups and fact-finding missions, as attestation to the direct experiences of fisherfolk and coastal area residents of Central Visayas. It has already been established that oil and gas and exploration activities have grave negative impacts on the environment and ultimately on the livelihood and welfare of those affected.

We denounce the unconstitutionality of the oil and gas exploration activities and their intrusion on the municipal waters and bypassing the authority of local government units and apparent lack of environmental safeguards.

We condemn the underhanded methods and human rights violations of the corporations, which include legal and military harassments to those opposing the projects, with the permission of the national government to take advantage of the natural resources.
Sustainable programs such as sustainable agriculture and authentic eco-tourism participated in by the community should be mainstreamed. Sustainability is the key to full human development, and not-dole outs, which encourage corruption, dependency and political patronage.

Oil Exploration does not bring economic prosperity to hosts communities, as experienced by our colleagues representing oil producing countries and it is a warning that we as local people should heed. Oil corporations and their backers in the DOE is only deceiving the Visayans.

We call on the government and stakeholders to craft and implement measures to reduce oil dependency and carbon emission, and to mitigate the impact of climate change. Residents of developing nations such as the Philippines are its worst victims. Reducing our carbon imprints is a moral responsibility for all.

We are warning corporations that would attempt to drill and explore in Central Visayas in the future, that they will be met with intensified opposition from different sectors and organizations in the local, national and international level. We, the undersigned, will not tolerate these intended plunderers and exploiters of our natural resources and would exhaust all means to permanently bring an end to those that threaten of rob us of our sovereignty and patrimony.

The Rule of Law must remain paramount and prevail. Government has a duty to implement the social justice provisions of the Constitution and constantly safeguard the people’s rights. Militarization and imposing a culture of fear among the constituents is never the answer.

We demand for the accountability of the foreign corporations-name of companies- and the national government to pay the damages and give the victims just compensation for the days the company’s activities have affected them negatively up to the time the marine life and ecology goes back to its healthy state.

We immediately demand for the following:

1. Immediately Stop oil and gas exploration in Central Philippines and a moratorium on all future oil and gas exploration;

2. immediately pursue on-site congressional investigation to identify other violations the activity brought and to Make DOE, NorAsian, JAPEX, and others involve accountable for the havoc they brought in the communities in Cebu, Bohol, and Negros;

3. Stop Militarization in the communities of Argao and Sibonga;

4. Courts should make speedy resolutions to cases filed by the fisherfolks and marine mammals in Central Philippines and other legal cases aimed at protecting our resources from foreign plunder and dislocation of food producers.
In the era where global warming and climate change is threatening the survival of poor communities, it is irresponsible for corporations and government leaders to profit from the misery of poor Filipinos.

We call on our leaders to stop the havoc of oil and gas exploration.

Delegates, International Fact Finding Mission (October 19 – 23, 2008):

Meggie Nolasco, Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment (Philippines)

Andry Wijaya, Jatam-Indonesia and the Oil Watch Southeast Asia (Indonesia)

Teh Chung Hong, Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (Malaysia)

Gilbert Sape, People’s Coalition for Food Sovereignty (Malaysia)

Wichoksak Ronnarongpairee, Federation of Southern Fisherfolk (Thailand)

Busarin Pandit, Federation of Southern Fisherfolk (Thailand)

Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos (Philippines)

Michael AliƱo (Philippines)

Vince Cinches (Philippines)

No comments: